Fragmented thoughts of a fragmented mind

27 Jan 2013

Being alive and human

I think one of the greatest gifts of having awoken from what feels like a long slumber is how I appreciate all the small little joys in life now. I smile when I look out of the window every morning when I see blue skies, because though blue skies are relatively common in the Mission, they are still not a given. I appreciate the gray, rainy days in between because they make me value the days with sun rays and blue skies even more.

I seem to be operating on a different conscious level and I am not sure if I can accurately describe it in words. I am more conscious about every little detail, I have started to care a lot more about things I never used to care about. I never really cared about living in chaos, now I prefer to have my living environment clean and organized. I used to eat anything I wanted, now it makes a difference whether my food comes from a sustainable source or not. Now, it has come to a point whereby I feel guilty for throwing a banana peel in the garbage as opposed to the compost bin.

Having lived so much of my life in Singapore, it never used to mean much when we waste food or throw rubbish in chutes. The scariest part of living in a comfortable modern society is how much we take resources for granted. I still maintain one of my most treasured experiences in my life was to spend a few days in a true eco resort at Palawan, Philippines. Till today, three years later, I still don’t waste toilet paper because I have lived a few days without it. In fact, I have become so much more conscious of how much water I use after living in that resort as well, because over there, there is no such thing as piped water. Everything comes from a natural source and everything is precious.

I still feel incredulously lucky to be in SF. I get the best of both worlds. Cutting-edge technology and hippie-back-to-the-basics-and-nature lifestyle. I just need to walk a few blocks away before I get to buy food from sustainable sources. Every Thursday evening in the Mission, I get to walk through a farmer’s market where I can buy oranges straight from a real farm. Not organically “labelled” or “certified”. A real farm. From a real farmer.

Right now I am typing this entry eating organic walnuts, unsalted and unseasoned. They taste like the best thing in the world. I am actually contemplating the unthinkable of being a vegetarian. Having loved bloody steaks all my life, if I ever take this step it would be huge.

The real reason though, is not really because I am in SF. I am just so preoccupied with being alive now so much that I don’t want to waste any moment. I want to maximize every breath I take. I want my cells to be efficient so that I can maximize the output of my energy. Which means I should stop making them work so hard to get rid of waste by eating less toxins to begin with. It has become very apparent to me now because my senses are heightened now that I am out of my slumber. Partially it is because I am sleeping really well now, so that gives me a lot more clarity than I have had my entire life. So each time I ingest a typical meal, it has become painfully obvious how hard my body is working to digest the food. When I simply eat less or better, my body feels light and free.

I have never noticed this pattern so much, I guess it is hard to notice intricate body patterns like this when I was always preoccupied with not having enough sleep and just coping with survival.

Having observed this subtle but profound change in myself, it makes me wonder about things on a macro perspective. If we all care a little bit more about each other, ourselves and our finite resources, if we remove a little bit of stress from our everyday lives, if we started to be concerned about things that truly matter, if we stopped being so obsessed about trying to prove ourselves to the world but instead, start to work on the things we love.

Maybe, just maybe, we would be a little more aware of how precious it is to be alive and how much it is a gift to be part of the human race. To really love life and not be afraid of death, to be really alive and not just avoiding death.

I never, ever, expected myself to think that it is a gift to be human. I have always had a disdain for the human race, if I may be honest. I was not proud to be human. But these recent years have allowed me to experience how incredible the human race can be, if only we focus on the things that truly matter.

I think real change starts within. It is always easy to point fingers at what is wrong with systems but are we even willing to take that step to change ourselves? If we don’t even want to try a little harder to be kinder, eat better, live healthier, have more compassion for the less fortunate, then what right do we have to point fingers up above?

I would like to believe that now, when people come into my path, they may feel a little different, because I think they would see the light I have perpetually shining in my eyes. How happy I am just to be.

You know people used to ask me, “how are you”, and I wouldn’t know how to reply without being impolite. These days, people ask me “how are you”, and I reply back with “great” – and I mean it every single time.

For the first time in my life, I will admit, I am grateful to be human. And I am very grateful to be in the company of the exceptional human beings I come across.

I used to be one of those pointing fingers at broken systems without caring how broken I was myself. I blamed the system for breaking me, which to a certain extent may be true. But it is not efficient nor productive to keep on pointing fingers at broken systems. What is it I can do? That is a better question instead. They say, be the change you want and I used to roll my eyes a little when I hear that, because I would be thinking, there’s no point trying to change myself when the entire system is broken.

I was wrong. History has always been made because there were simply crazy people who believed things can change. If you start believing, even if you were delusional, one day you may just be right. If you never believed in anything, then nothing exceptional would ever happen.

They say a leopard doesn’t change its spots. My family and friends who have known me for more than three years, can attest to it that I am one of those leopards who not only changed its spots, but probably grew a technicolor coat.

I believe in miracles, because I am one.

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